2022 Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 drive review: The aam aadmi car gets khaas treatment
Maruti Suzuki Alto was first launched in 2000 and quickly replaced Maruti 800 as the most common car on Indian roads. A model that needs absolutely no introduction wherever one might be across the lengths and breadths of our country, the Alto has found over 43 lakh homes over the course of the past 22 years, a record. Widely regarded as the true people's car, the Maruti Suzuki Alto did - and continues to do - what Tata Nado couldn't - take the joy of four-wheeled mobility to the masses. While this isn't an Alto versus Nano insight, it is safe to say that while Tata focused on propping Nano as the cheapest car money can buy, Maruti Suzuki continues to focus on Alto has the most bang-for-the-buck product. And in this sense, the latest 2022 Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 underlines its inherent strengths while offering several updates.
A big part of why Alto K10 remains a best-seller despite being a vastly common car is that Maruti Suzuki has given it timely updates while only minutely tweaking the lively 1,000 cc motor under the hood. When it comes to this particular offering, Maruti has appears to have followed a ‘don’t fix what's not broken' philosophy and thus far, it seems to have worked real well.
|Maruti Alto K10 2022 variants||Price (In ₹ex-showroom)|
|VXi (AT)||5.49 lakh|
|VXi+ (AT)||5.83 lakh|
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But just because the Alto sells like hot cakes here does not exactly guarantee a similar momentum in times to come, especially with the Indian car-buying audience becoming increasingly aspirational regardless of budget. While it is true that there still is a mammoth potential for passenger vehicle penetration here, sitting on past laurels and repute could be a risky proposition.
Do the slew of updates then promise a path of further progress? Here's our first full-drive review of Maruti Suzuki Alto K10:
Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 exterior highlights:
The Alto was never designed to win any beauty pageants for cars. It still won't. But marks due for a fresh face and rear that seek to set it apart from the preceding models.
The front grille, for instance, is now much larger than before and sports a honey-comb pattern. Flanking it on either side are smaller but sleeker halogen head light units. Interestingly, Maruti Suzuki has completely omitted the section for fog lamps.
The Alto’s design has undergone small but significant changes which now takes it closer to how the new Celerio looks. There may not be much change in terms of proportions but the face is significantly different courtesy a larger grille with a honeycomb pattern. The halogen headlight units on either side are now slightly smaller, more sleeker than before. And no, there is no provision for fog light units.
Over at the side, the Alto continues to stand on 13-inch wheels and look closer to find the honeycomb pattern now also finding a place on the wheel cap. There is a stretched character line running from the A pillar to the rear light and another raised character line on the lower half. Unlike the previous model though, there is no black cladding line on the side doors.
The rear of the new Alto K10 gets reworked tail lights while the design of the trunk door and rear bumper too have been tweaked for a newer take from the back.
There is nothing really remarkable in the design updates on the new Alto K10 but while customers in this segment may not exactly prioritize looks, Maruti designers could have made the updated model sharper rather than more rounded, almost on similar lines at the updated Celerio. And while Maruti Suzuki is offering two customization packs - Impacto and Glinto, these don't do much to bring out the wow factor.
As far as body colour options are concerned, there are six hues to choose from.
|Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 - colour options|
Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 cabin highlights:
Now while not much has changed in terms of proportions of the new Alto K10, there is slightly more space for rear-seat passengers, especially the legroom. It is only marginal and on obvious lines, three at the back would still be a tight squeeze.
But there are other highlights on the newer model to now look forward to. The biggest update, and by far, is the addition of a seven-inch infotainment screen on the top-end variant. Powered by SmartPlay Studio and complete with smartphone navigation, the display is as bright and as responsive to touch as on any other Maruti Suzuki model. There is support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and voice command integration as well. The unit is connected to four speakers, one on each door.
Then there is the large driver display screen which puts out the necessary information in an all-digital format. It isn't fancy but the large font for the speed makes the glance from the road to the screen and back on to the road quite easy. But because this display is quite large, it also looks rather empty as only the most essential details are displayed and the right and left sections are blank.
The steering wheel is another update point and is now larger, and comes with mounted controls.
The Alto continues to offer an acceptable list of storage spaces, two cup holders on the center console, circular air vents on the side - the air-conditioning is mighty powerful, and device charging options.
|Std.||LXi (Over Std.)||VXi (Over LXi)||VXi+ (Over VXi)|
But while the upholstery and cushioning on all seats are par for the course for this segment, the finish on some of the panels were quite shoddy and may eventually give way with passing time. This is especially true for the panel lining between the front windows and the roof.
Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 drive highlights:
The Alto K10 has always been a delightful little car within city limits and the 2022 model stays true to this as well. The 1,000cc K-Series dual jet petrol motor has been slightly reworked to give it a slight bit more character and this is paired to very familiar five-speed manual and an AGS (Automatic Gear Shift) transmission options.
For anyone who has driven an Alto, there isn't much new to delight but this once again is an example of the ‘don’t fix what's…' philosophy.
|Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 - Key specifications|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||27 litres|
|Max Power||65 hp|
|Max Torque||89 Nm|
|Transmission options||5MT, AGS|
We began our drive from the outskirts of Cochin, making our way through congested city sections before heading out to Athirapally waterfalls, a total drive day distance of around 200 kms. On expected lines, the Alto fared remarkably well through the congested sections with its light steering set up making it easy to navigate through the narrow roads. The gear shifts too were conventional in the manual set up and once the roads cleared, the Alto pushed forward like an innocent child in a chocolate factory. The three-digit mark does take a while to come about but hey, the engine deserves all the credit for keep things interesting to and beyond.
The suspension didn't seem to have been updated and one would feel vibrations on broken roads. The body roll too is still mighty evident on sharp or sweeping turns. But keep the Alto steady - and moderate your expectations, and Alto will reward you with an eager drive.
But while the MT is fairly easy to handle, the AGS would surely be my go-to option because it remains a very practical addition on the Alto. There's nothing new as such and the shifts aren't exactly fluid. But for the segment in which Alto features in, it is always good to have a an auto transmission choice that can make managing congested roads far easier.
Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 verdict:
The Alto K10 benefits big time on two counts - it is a well-established, well-entrenched package which is backed by a robust sales and post-sales network. And then there is the abject surrender of rivals in the segment like Hyundai Santro - taken out of production, and Datsun rediGo. This leaves the entry-level playfield wide open for the likes of Alto to compete against sibling S-Presso and the much more stylish looking Renault Kwid.
- Eager 1000cc petrol motor
- Seven-inch infotainment screen
- Solid resale value
- Robust post-sales network
- Interior fit and finish still lacking in some regards
- Exterior style updates aren't very youthful
The latest Alto K10 isn't young and its latest styling updates aren't exactly too striking either. But as an overall package, the Alto is quite the unbeatable option that now has even bigger potential for a bigger chunk in the entry-level segment.